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governmentality

Literature DictionaryDictionary of Postmodern Terms
A centralization and increased government power. This power is not negative. In fact, it produces reality through "rituals of truth" and it creates a particular style of subjectivity with which one conforms to or resists. Because the individuals are taken into this subjectivity they become part of the normalizing force. Governmentality also includes a growing body of knowledge that presents itself as "scientific," and which contributes to the power of governmentality. This is a term introduced by Foucault in the resume (199) and illustrated in other articles (1979b) 1981, 1984a. (see Darier) . Also see Foucault's article on this topic.
Governmentality is a novel kind of governing that emerged in Europe during the sixteenth century. It happened when feudalism was failing and when their was a loss of power in the absolute monarch. Even though we do not have absolute power of the monarch now, we do have govenrment. To a large extent this is internalized by people, but there is also survelliance and reinforcement for conforming to the rules. This new kind of governmentality was made possible by the creation of specific (expert or professional) "knowledges" as well as the construction of experts, institutions and disciplines (e.g., medicine, psychology, psychiatry) so that individuals who we think of as experts can claim the knowledge necessary to command the power of governmentality. .

 

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